Helmut Dantine

Helmut Dantine


in Vienna


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Helmut Dantine was a film actor remembered for playing many Nazis in thriller films of the 1940s. The Vienna-born actor appeared uncredited in Casablanca as the desperate newlywed gambling to obtain visa money. Dantine's father, Alfred Guttman, was the head of the Austrian railway system in Vienna. As a young man, Dantine became involved in an anti-Nazi movement in Vienna. In 1938, when he was 21 years old, the Nazis took over Austria during the Anschluss. Dantine was rounded up, with hundreds of other enemies of the Third Reich, and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp outside Vienna. Three months later, using their influence, his parents got his release and immediately sent him to California to live with a friend. His father later died in Austria; however, his mother, Ditha Guttman, was safely brought from Austria to California in 1960, with the help of her son. Ditha lived in California until her death in 1983. Dantine began his U.S. acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was spotted by a talent scout and signed to a Warner Bros. contract.